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Fly Patterns of the
      San Juan River

See detailed photos of the various flys we use on the San Juan River!

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The San Juan River

1. Water below a dam or waterpower development
2. Can also refer to a type of fishery. Tailwater fisheries may be created at the outflow from large dams, where the size of the reservoir creates a steep temperature gradient, with colder water stored at the bottom of the reservoir near the outlet. The constant cold-water flow provided by the reservoir's outflow, coupled with the generally silt-free nature of the outflow, creates ideal water conditions for cold-water fish such as trout.

The San Juan River located in Northwest New Mexico is one the nation's best trout fisheries. Starting at a source in the Rocky Mountains, the San Juan River flows into Navajo Dam Reservoir. From the bottom of Navajo Dam Reservoir, emerges the San Juan River tailwater. The cold, clear water that makes up the San Juan River provides the perfect habitat for aquatic flora, the insects that inhabit it and the trout that feed on them. This is especially true in the waters of the San Juan River that are designated Quality Waters by the State of New Mexico.

The Quality Waters encompass 4.25 miles of the San Juan River below Navajo Dam and are world-renowned for the tremendous amount of trophy sized trout that call it home. In the Quality Waters of the San Juan River, the trout typically caught average 17-18 inches in length with fish over 20 inches being commonplace. While widely known as a Rainbow Trout fishery, Brown Trout are becoming increasingly more common. It was recently estimated by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish that the population split between Rainbows and Browns is now 50%-50% below the Texas Hole.

The trout of the Quality Waters are known to be particularly picky. Small flies, fine tippet and impeccable presentation are required to trick these highly selective fish. It is this challenge and the great reward of trophy trout that keep visitors coming back year after year.

It is not just the trout that make the San Juan River special. Set underneath towering sandstone ridges and the always spectacular New Mexico skies, the San Juan River provides a home to a diverse range of wildlife. Whether watching a bald eagle soar high overhead or seeing a beaver duck under the water, make sure to take a moment to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. It is this unique combination of scenery, wildlife and, of course, the fish that make the San Juan River a truly special place.

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